Somalia: Parliament opt to debate for national oil law

Published on Friday 11th April 2008

Baidoa (Somalia), Apr 11: Lawmakers in Somalia's Transitional Federal Parliament voted in favor of establishing a national oil law for the war-torn Horn of Africa country.


Sources said 143 legislators were present at parliament hall in Baidoa, the temporary seat of parliament, where lawmakers debated whether or not the parliament should establish a national oil law to govern the country's natural resources. The Wednesday session was chaired by Speaker Sheikh Adan "Madobe" Mohamed, who announced the final vote: 119 MPs voted in favor of establishing a national oil law, 22 MPs rejected the motion and 2 MPs abstained from the vote. Speaker Madobe told lawmakers that a parliamentary sub-committee will be established to follow up the issue with the Ministry of Minerals and Energy, agency report said. Speaking on Universal TV after the vote, Somalia's parliament Speaker said the reason lawmakers approved this motion is to stop "illegal agreements" signed with "small ineffective companies." Speaker Madobe did not directly state whom he was referring to, but Wednesday's vote for a national oil law coincides with a March 19 regional oil law that was "ratified" under mysterious circumstances in Garowe, the capital of the northern Puntland region. The people of Puntland are peace-loving citizens but a "select few officials pursuing self-interest" are responsible for the Puntland region's own oil law, according to Speaker Madobe. Mohamud Ali Salah, Somalia's Minister for Minerals and Energy, had rejected the Puntland oil law in a press statement issued on the same day of the vote, arguing that only the Federal Government has the constitutional mandate to manage the country's resources. A response letter from the Puntland government stated that regional officials had been "reassured" that Minister Salah's comments did not reflect the federal government's official position. But observers said Speaker Madobe's comments against the Puntland oil law and its consequences for federalism in Somalia is testament that Energy Minister Salah enjoys support among senior federal officials. Puntland President Adde Muse, who is currently visiting Ethiopia, called Speaker Madobe to express his displeasure with the national oil law debate, inside sources in Baidoa told Garowe Online.